6-step guide to improve your PR, reputation with Yelp

Eighty-four percent of people say online reviews influence their purchase decisions. Is your business taking advantage?


How important is it to look your best to a potential customer?

Many companies still ignore what people say about them online, whether it’s positive or negative. Some want to put their heads in the sand and wait until the Internet “blows over.”

Folks, your customer is online most of the day and night. People talk about you, and it’s risky to pretend they don’t.

Your customers love the consumer review site Yelp. Why? Because it’s local and easy to use. They look forward to sharing their experiences because it lets them invest in the community and get value from the experiences of others.

According to Nielsen, 84 percent of people say online reviews influence their buying decisions.

Make no mistake, Yelp can make or break a business. For many B2C and service businesses, Yelp may be the most important marketing channel.

What’s the best way to make sure you get some customer love on Yelp? The key is to have a solid internal process to capture and maintain a steady stream of customers who write reviews.

Understandably, many of your frontline sales personnel may feel awkward asking customers for a review, but you can put it in a way that makes the customer comfortable. Try saying, “Our business is based on referrals. Would you take a moment to visit Yelp and refer us to your friends and family?” This is a great start to your internal process, but it’s only the beginning.

I developed a system that can help you get reviews and maintain a consistent stream of referrals from customers. Here are six ways to get your Yelp groove on:

1. Designate an online reputation go-to person who will take ownership of your implementation plan. This person will organize grassroots participation from your staff, and monitor and respond to the community.

2. Create signage. Create awareness amongst your customers and staff. Display “Love us on Yelp!” signs throughout your store, in entryways, sales offices, customer waiting areas, customer service counters, and the cashier area. Give customers a card that reminds them you’re on Yelp. You can also put memos on paychecks, repair orders, and invoices to create awareness, too.

3. Reach out to your raving fans. Every company has fans. Look at the customers who have been with you a long time. These customers go out of their way to do business with you. Ask them to share an honest review—don’t push for positive—where they can share their opinions.

4. Hold a monthly contest with the staff. Nothing motivates like a cash prize. For example, say your store gets 20 reviews by the end of the month. Enter your employees into a drawing to win a cash prize. Open the drawing to all employees so you can motivate everyone to achieve the same goal.

5. Recognize staff members who get five-star reviews. A gift or nice mention during weekly sales or service meetings goes a long way. When the other employees see you reward someone, they’ll want to be next.

6. Use email marketing. Do a “love drip” campaign with a catchy subject line and a nice call to action. Provide a link to your Yelp profile so your customer has to do minimal work.

You can’t build a stellar online reputation without participation from your staff. Use the power of your employees and institute an internal process to take control of your online reputation.

How does Yelp affect your business?

Kathi Kruse specializes in automotive social media and online reputation coaching for the automotive industry. She blogs at Kruse Control, and contributes to {grow}, where a version of this article originally ran.

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